Dutch teenagers strike first World Tour gold at Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden, April 21, 2019 – Dutch wild cards Emi van Driel and Raisa Schoon climbed the highest step of the women’s podium at the Gothenburg one-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. 18-year-old Van Driel and her 17-year-old Schoon have silver medals from the 2018 U19 World Championship and from the 2017 U18 European Championship to their name, but the Gothenburg gold is the first ever World Tour medal for either of them.

24-year-old twins Inna Makhno and Iryna Makhno took home the silver medal. This is the third World Tour podium for the Ukrainian sisters with all three of their medals shining in the same colour.

The Gothenburg bronze went to Norway’s Ane Guro Tveit Hjortland and Victoria Faye Kjolberg, the first medal on the Tour for either of them.

The women’s podium at Gothenburg

The 14th-seeded Dutch teenagers managed to control their side-out and dominated the gold medal match on the way to a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) straight-set victory over fourth-seeded Makhno and Makhno.

"Our side-out worked very well so we had time to think about their side-out and how we could stop them. So it was somewhat of an easy game for us when we played like this,” commented an elated Van Driel after the final. “It feels awesome! We are so happy! The whole tournament has been good, the organization around it has been great, the location was beautiful, and now we won the gold medal. It just feels great and it is a great start of our season! I can’t wait for the rest of the summer and all the other tournaments on the sand. I think we played very well together and helped each other. If she made a mistake, I could help her, and the other way around. Our passing and setting were very good, so we did our own thing and kept smiling. We will always have good memories from Sweden now."

Team Norway in action during the bronze medal game

The third place match offered the toughest battle and the longest running game of the day. Hjortland and Kjolberg won the first set against eighth-seeded Katja Stam and Julia Wouters of the Netherlands, but the Dutch pair came back in the second to prompt a third set. The tie-breaker was very competitive and ran into overtime before the Norwegians closed it off at 2-1 (21-14, 18-21, 17-15).

Earlier on Sunday at the indoor Beach Center in Gothenburg, the two semifinals were played. The Makhno twins were quite emphatic on the way to a 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) victory over Stam and Wouters. Van Driel and Schoon emerged with a 2-1 (21-13, 18-21, 15-8) win over Hjortland and Kjolberg.


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